Not all regimes are benevolent. Who would you trust most with your personal data - Hitler, Stalin, President Carter or your Employer - or GCHQ Cheltenham, the CIA, Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon or your local Parish Council? Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Internet, fears for its safety, survival and independence.
In today's world of ever increasing automated production, robots and computer systems, we have ever increasing, relatively effortless wealth, which augers an increasingly peaceful future, which is fertile ground for stability, civilisation, intelligent co-operation and personal and group creativity. This coming Utopia leaves little room for Nazis, the Stazi, the KKK and other mad extremists to flourish. But somehow mad dictators still rise to power, buoyed by the mass thugish hysteria of deluded mediocrities and incompetents. We do not want our personal data in their anti-life hands.
Many authorities, from local to national governments through to major corporations are trying to control the Internet. They want to stop us talking to each other without their permission, analyses or intervention. They will ultimately fail, but in this time of dangerous transition - from the present gangster-economics where neurotics, bullies, spivs, crooks and sociopaths grab and hoard trillions of dollars and create the largest gaps ever between Haves & Have-Nots - to the future brave new world; there will be upheaval and unrest, before wealth flows evenly across the whole world. We are living in "interesting times" and more lunatics will rise to power. (We follow and support lunatics because they offer us certainty in bad times. But that's another topic).
FUTURE-FACT-FORECAST - What will become of us and our Internet? The massive intrusions, surveillance, snooping, spying, marketing, spamming, scamming, harassing, recording, tempting, seducing and censorship will get worse. There will be a technological cyberwar as, on the one hand, users, ISPs, hardware and software manufacturers, land-line and satellite telecoms engineers, are bribed or beaten into spying on all their neighbours - and on the other hand as science-savvy, young at heart, impertinent, disobedient, clever, energetic rebels resist being corralled. If the snooping-interference does not reduce to sensible, socially acceptable levels - a new, global wireless internet will emerge for people who respect that the internet should be like a network of roads that anyone may travel on, irrespective of nationality, class, wealth, religion, health, reputation, credit-rating or mental stability. We all use the roads, largely unfettered, with a few sensible safety protocols, and so we will travel on the Internet. It would be a pity if the vast investments into the present system and the dominant Western influences and technologies are abandoned and lost due to the abuse by today's powerful organisations.
18 April 2012